There is the six guys who went to Cuba to discover and develop new climbing sites with me. From left to right: Mike "Miguel" Fuselier, Enzo Oddo "el joven" juju Nadiras, nina Caprez, cedr Lachat, Rackham or Sebastien bossogne and ... me.
After two weeks spent in Mexico, we landed on the island of crocodile. The main objective was to explore and open new lines and it has not missed! Climbing and traditional music into an explosing cocktail and have enough to supply the new film by Julien Nadiras and Vladimir Cellier due in June! With this team always ready to innovate in the world of jocking it will be a lot of fun!
The first stage of the trip was begun in Vinales. Watch your clock is party to 100 years back, like a movie, old American cars, the farmers who till their fields with oxen, shops and ration coupons only for Cubans, public transport in dumpsters trucks ... you can imagine!
We arrived in this atmosphere, really well received by the "casa el Maikel Morito", belonging to the family of local climber the most active in the region: Yarobi Garcia. The first few days, we searched in the jungle to find a new spot, machete in hand to defend himself against snakes, spiders, poisonous plants and stinging ... Bottom line there is a huge slope perfect for fitting new hard lines and in one place much deviated from known sites (direction of “el cruce Ancon”). Sevens new routes has emerged from 7c to 8c and a line whose lightning-shaped "alto cedro" really great.
In the classical sites, three more new routes were opened, a project in 9a “la vida loca " in "cueva vacha "(the main spot of vinales), a project in the second length and a bow in 8a in front of “el muro de la preistoria”, "la vida en los crepos”.
All routes have fallen one after the other but two resisted the attacks of highly motivated climbers. Cedric and Enzo were really close to make the project in 9a but time running out ... And for the story, Nina had opened a beautiful 8b second length in the vertical technical, but always in the sun ... 35°c. We were motivated to wake up at dawn and follow up the routes. But bad luck for us, the principal hold had broken and ... the routes is became an harder project !
After two weeks in Vinales we decide to go to Santiago de Cuba. The Cubans were really motivated us to explore a place of bouldering they had seen around Siboney. Twenty hours of bus later we finally arrive at their destination in a small town near the sea. The paradise quickly turned into a nightmare ... After three days searching through all possible places imaginable around 10km. After a broken chaos of boulder and pebbles fields of 1.50m, we end up finding two boulder... but nice, 100% granite and a contact with the local population really nice.
The touristic beaches like in Siboney attract many tourists alone and it’s beacome a real market of prostitution. Accordingly, the contact with the local population is much tougher and they are much more pleasant for us to extract the maximum. What was not prevented from enjoying the beach, palm trees, the seabed of the beautiful Caribbean Sea, fish of all colors, all forms of coral, purple sea urchin with spines of twenty centimeter ... the sun, get the coconut palms at the top… some holidays!
We finally returned two days earlier in Havana to enjoy the city.
The current political regim in Cuba tries to impose his socialist system where "el estado" is more important than the individual. Their freedom is restricted in a world where they do not have access to communication (telephone, internet) and where all information is controlled by the state. Their only contact with the outside world are European tourists who flock to winter warm. This has created a whole trade and parallel market where tourists are the main actors. Indeed Tourism is the first resource and the money has created a richer class... good thing or bad? In any case I could feel the desire of Cubans to access at the information and an higher standard of living ... meetings in the streets, words exchanged, glances. Many took advantage of this system, nobody dies of hunger (only dogs abandoned in the streets in packs), they love their island, their tradition, their culture, their music but they want to evolve their life and change things in Cuba. The U.S. embargo since 1961, does not help them... but it seems that the new generation wants to cut the barriers of the past. Their story is their future, there are still some blank pages to write ...
the farmer take the leaf of tabac and stored in a barn where it is macerated in a mixture made of sugar cane, honey (a recipe for each family tradition) and cause them to dry . These sheets, he chose a very special properties which in more elastic and it will be black, more tobacco is hard. He puts it aside, takes a leaf and wraps on itself. It surrounds an under hood, cut both ends and rolled through the third layer of the hood. And it's ready to enjoy!